DOHA, Qatar (AP) — There is no Neymar facing Switzerland in the World Cup on Monday.
Only Richarlison. and Vinicius Junior. and Rafina. and Rodrigo. And all the other star-laden options in a deep and talented Brazilian roster that lacks its most famous player.
“Everyone and everyone is super skilled, even the central defenders and the goalkeeper,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said on Sunday, describing the Brazil players. “They are here to win the title. That is almost an obligation for them”.
Neymar’s ankle injury, sustained in a 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday, is likely to keep Brazil’s number 10 out of action for the remainder of Group G matches.
The spotlight was already shining brightly on No. 9 Richarlison after a stellar scissor kick for his second goal against the Serbs.
Yakin certainly appreciated what was perhaps the most outstanding individual moment of the first week in Qatar.
“Absolutely, that’s why we love football, that’s why we watch it, to see those goals,” he said in comments translated from German.
The Brazil coach, Tite, spoke about the different goal routes his team has without Neymar.
“Maybe we’ll see a feint or a dribble from Vini, maybe we’ll see creativity at the end of a play by Richarlison or a header from Pedro,” he said.
“This will come out because they have that creativity,” Tite said. “It’s amazing how calm they can be to get things done even under all this pressure.”
Even so, Switzerland knew how to stop Brazil’s attack when Neymar was playing in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which the teams opened with a 1-1 draw..
“It’s very difficult to beat them,” said Marquinhos, now a starter in central defense who watched the 2018 draw from the bench in Russia.
Some of the best teams in Europe have also had problems with Switzerland in the last 18 months.
Switzerland beat Portugal and Spain in the Nations League this year. Last year, the Swiss knocked out world champion France at Euros. and advanced to Qatar by finishing above Euro 2020 winners Italy in their World Cup qualifying group.
“We have been challenged by great teams and we have been able to score,” said striker Xherdan Shaqiri, who is playing his fourth World Cup, a Swiss record. “If we score a goal, I think we can completely change the game.”
Shaqiri provided a pass to Breel Embolo to score the only goal in a 1-0 win against Cameroon which opened the group on Thursday. The Swiss did just enough to take all three points against his expected weaker opponent.
World-ranked leaders Brazil must make a second forced change with Éder Militão or Dani Alves available to replace Danilo, who like Neymar was injured against Serbia.
Tite said he had decided on his lineup but would not share it before Monday night. Serbia take on Cameroon earlier in the day.
Switzerland will be without Noah Okafor, the Salzburg striker who has been a favorite quick option off the bench late in games.
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